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Promoting Excellence in Teaching at Missouri State

Excellence in Teaching Award Recipients

Each year the FCTL recognizes faculty members who have been nominated due to their demonstrated teaching excellence and dedication to student success.  Nominated faculty members go through a rigorous application process with the FCTL recognizing top applicants with the distinguished excellence in teaching award.
Dr. Chloe Bolyard
2024 Award Winner

Teaching, Learning and Developmental Sciences

Dr. Bolyard focuses her practice on helping students “embrace equity-centered, trauma-informed practices.”  She is an expert in teaching, which is evident in her use of best practices for teaching, such as the use of clear learning goals paired with research-based strategies and formative assessment of, for, and as learning. 

Dr. Bolyard implements strategies to promote high levels of teacher-student and student-student interactions, creates inclusive content, and uses data to make decisions to meet student needs. 

Dr. Bolyard plans to continue to grow her teaching practice by “providing more meaningful feedback”, “increas[ing] the use of modeled UDL practices”, and “mak[ing] equitable teaching practices explicit”.  

Dr. Laszlo Kovacs
2024 Award Winner


Dr. Kovacs is committed to student success and works to “create an innovative and inclusive learning environment.”  He is a highly reflective practitioner and engages in teaching as inquiry where he experiments with various strategies, tests different modalities, and uses data to evaluate the effectiveness of instructional practices. Dr. Kovacs uses findings from his inquiries into teaching and learning to modify practice in order to meet individual students’ needs, and he has found success using strategies such as: a) activating prior knowledge, b) integrating diverse perspectives into content, c) discussion,  and e) the use of humor to engage students in complex content.  

Dr. Jennifer Laprade
2024 Award Winner


Dr. LaPrade strives to help all of her students “feel emboldened and ignited” when they leave her classroom.  She implements experiential learning strategies to engage students in real-world, hands-on, and authentic learning tasks coupled with designing assignments to provide students a  ‘sense of audience’ with students presenting their work to real organizations within the field and involving students through peer assessment practices.  She invites students into learning through her use of clear expectations, personal relevance, and inclusive assignments.  Dr. LaPrade seeks on-going student feedback throughout the semester and uses the data to adapt her courses to meet student needs.   Dr. LaPrade is working to incorporate active learning into the online environment and aspires to “spark[ing] more flames for learning.”

Dr. William Sandel
2024 Award Winner


Dr. Sandel is recognized as a faculty member who “goes above and beyond” for students.  He strives to provide an individualized learning experience for all students, and has found success implementing effective feedback where students are given ongoing information about their own learning.  He also uses feedback from students to adapt his teaching practice. Dr. Sandel differentiates materials and formats for his students in order to provide personalized learning and to ensure accessibility for all students. 

2024 Finalists

  • Liza Cobos, Hospitality and Agriculture
  • Todd Daniel, Information Technology and Cybersecurity
  • Traci Garrison, Occupational Therapy
  • Judith Martinez, Languages, Cultures, & Religions
  • Katrina Mitchell, Music
  • Kerri Tassin, Accounting
  • Alicia Walker, Sociology and Anthropology

Previous Award Recipients